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July 11th, 2013

The Vigilante Or Civilization…Pick One


The facts show that George Zimmerman armed himself with a gun loaded with hollow point bullets and ended up killing an unarmed teenager who was just out buying some snacks. How that happened is disputed but to me it’s obvious that when you strap on a gun, go looking for trouble and end up stalking and killing an unarmed 17 year old, you’ve done something wrong.

Digby goes on to say “To me, the carrying of that gun morally requires that he be held liable in some way for the unarmed Trayvon’s death”, but there is where I often part company with my fellow liberals on the issue of guns: I am fine with the concept that you have a right to own a gun and defend yourself with it. In fact, I consider that right to be a fundamentally democratic thing.

What isn’t are things like vigilantism and racism.  These are poison.  They are poison to the person, they are poison to the nation.  This case is positively dripping with racism that nobody in the corporate news media wants to look closely at, because we’re all supposed to be beyond all that now. Except we’re not. Zimmerman’s suspicion and fear of Martin only makes sense in the context of Martin’s race, his sex, and his age. There is literally nothing else there but those three things. Zimmerman stalked that kid because of those three things, and his rational for killing an unarmed teenage boy who was out buying snacks can only seem plausible due to those three things. Fear the black male, and especially, fear the young black male.  Look, for as long as you can stomach it, at the breathless agreement that Martin posed a threat to Zimmerman’s life, solely on the basis of Zimmerman’s say-so, and the ephemeral signs of a fight on his face and head.  That was no beating.  You want to see what a beating looks like, look at the photos of recent victims of gay bashers.  But it’s simply an accepted fact in certain quarters of the country that Zimmerman’s life was threatened. Were Martin white it would not matter what the race of his stalker would be, other than if his stalker was a black man he’d already have been convicted and on Florida’s death row. Picture it: a white teenaged boy stalked by a strange man, fights back and is found shot to death. Would anyone doubt the adult male had done something horribly wrong?  Why is it never considered, that Martin was standing His ground when Zimmerman confronted him? Well, of course a young black male has no such right.  Racism was always at the rotten core of this.

But if Zimmerman was a racist, he was also a vigilante and if you approve of vigilantism anywhere outside the pages of a comic book you are no friend of civilization let alone democracy.  All those people waving around the second amendment as a defense against tyranny are no defenders of democracy…if anything they are the useful tools of anarchy.  The gun is what you need when the the peace is broken, so the first thing, the basic responsibility of the believers in civilization and democracy is to preserve the peace.  That means the rule of law and the ballot box as the agent of change.  Peaceful disobedience, where the conscience requires disobedience, and responsibility for ones own conduct toward your neighbors.  Responsibility.  What a concept, that.  Zimmerman acted like the gun came with a badge and they don’t. But more than that, he acted as if he had character enough to bear the wearing of a badge and it’s sickeningly obvious he is no such person.

However this trial turns out, if nothing else this case really raises a lot of questions about the kind of nation we are, or should want to be. So many virtuous moral all-American values types cheering on what Zimmerman did. It’s been a while since I’ve been this completely disgusted. Digby’s right, what would be a just punishment for what Zimmerman did isn’t obvious, but what is staringly obvious is that he did something terribly, horribly wrong. A teenage boy went out for snacks and never came back home, because Zimmerman saw a young black man somewhere he thought a young black man didn’t belong, and took that matter into his own hands.

[Edited slightly...]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

June 26th, 2013

The Untruth At The Heart Of It

“At the heart of the gay marriage argument is an untruth: unions of two men or women are not the same as unions of husband and wife. The law cannot make it so, it can only require us to paint pretty pictures to cover up deep truths embedded in human nature.”

-Maggie Gallagher, still trying to paint a pretty picture over the untruth at the heart of the anti-gay agenda, that Homosexuals Don’t Love, They Just Have Sex…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

March 16th, 2013

The Lost Cause

Ever wonder how so many southerners can claim with a straight face that slavery was a benign, even beneficial institution toward black people?  Ever find yourself chuckling under your breath when you hear one of them refer to the civil war as The War Of Northern Aggression…?

The South still lies about the Civil War

The Civil War is like a mountain range that guards all roads into the South: you can’t go there without encountering it. Specifically, you can’t go there without addressing a question that may seem as if it shouldn’t even be a question—to wit: what caused the war? One hundred and fifty years after the event, Americans—at least the vast majority who toil outside academia—still can’t agree. Evidence of this crops up all the time, often in the form of a legal dispute over a display of the Confederate flag. (As I write, there are two such cases pending—one in Oregon and the other in Florida, making this an average news week.) Another common forum is the classroom. But it’s not always about the Stars and Bars. In 2010, for instance, Texas school officials made the news by insisting that Jefferson Davis’s inaugural address be given equal prominence with Abraham Lincoln’s in that state’s social studies curriculum. The following year, Virginia school officials were chagrined to learn that one of their state-adopted textbooks was teaching fourth graders that thousands of loyal slaves took up arms for the confederacy.

At the bottom of all of these is one basic question: was the Civil War about slavery, or states’ rights?

Read the whole thing and if you’re of a certain age you find yourself remembering how the further south you went, the more ridiculous their version of the civil war became.  And you remember something else…how you just laughed it off and went along, because there was no sense rubbing their noses in it after so long.  The war was a thing of the distant past…a relic of history, a plot device in spaghetti westerns and TV shows.  The union won, slavery was defeated, a new South was born from the ashes.  Well…yes…but so was the Ku Klux Klan.  And almost one-hundred and fifty years after the war the party of Lincoln is now the party of John C. Calhoun, the intellectual godfather of the confederacy.

That has had consequences, among them being continuing and relentless political attacks not only on the rights of minorities, but more basically on the union itself that so many northern soldiers fought and died for.  And since the nation’s first black president was reelected it’s only gotten worse, the outright calls for succession louder.

How did it happen that we seem right back where we started, minus only the slaves in chains but little else. It was the bloodiest war this nation has ever fought and in the spirit of healing and reconciliation the valor and bravery of confederate soldiers was honored, even as we all seemed to agree that the cause of the war, slavery, was a stain on both the southern slave holding states, as well as the northerners who kidnapped black Africans and and sold them into southern slavery.  But almost immediately the south began denying it had any culpability at all in that war, and the victorious north eventually just accepted it as yet another of the south’s peculiar institutions.  It was a mistake.  When I was a kid in the 1960s we treated the lost cause mindset as the source of lighthearted joking…

My boots have touched Yankee soil! Now I’ll
have to burn them!

Yes, yes…war of northern aggression…whatever… But it is no joke. Compare modern Germany’s acknowledgment of its Nazi past, and the horrific crime of the Holocaust with the south’s of its antebellum past and slavery, and then compare the political mindset of even conservative Germans nowadays with that of the southern republican base and you see what cultural denial buys you.


CPAC Participant Defends Slavery At Minority Outreach Panel: It Gave ‘Food And Shelter’ To Blacks

…an audience member from North Carolina, 30-year-old Scott Terry, asked whether Republicans could endorse races remaining separate but equal. After the presenter, K. Carl Smith of Frederick Douglass Republicans, answered by referencing a letter by Frederick Douglass forgiving his former master, the audience member said “For what? For feeding him and housing him?” Several people in the audience cheered and applauded Terry’s outburst.

They cheered. They didn’t look away in embarrassment and discomfort, the way a German audience would if some lout among them defended Hitler for improving the lives of Jews by taking Germany out of economic depression.  They cheered.  They cheered because they grew up in a world where all their comfortable conceits about themselves and their history are never disturbed, lest they find themselves asking troubling questions about whence they came and who they are.

We did not start a war that killed more Americans then all our other wars combined just so we could keep other humans in slavery…we did not kill hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans, our neighbors, for the cause of white supremacy…it’s a lie…we’re good Christian people…

And thus the sins of the fathers became the pride of the children, and all the racism, sexism and homophobia, all the bitter hatred of a democracy that protects the right of black people to vote, let alone drink from a white man’s water fountain, and all the acid resentment toward a world that insists on moving forward to that better tomorrow, despite their best efforts to hold it down so they won’t have to acknowledge what their Heritage actually Is.

After the presenter, K. Carl Smith of Frederick Douglass Republicans, answered by referencing a letter by Frederick Douglass forgiving his former master, the audience member said “For what? For feeding him and housing him?” Several people in the audience cheered and applauded Terry’s outburst…

The lost cause isn’t lost because it was defeated, it is lost because it leads people into an endless darkness from which few ever return.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

March 15th, 2013

Your Son Will Die Of AIDS…Not That We’re Praying For That Mind You…

Now drops the other shoe, as it reliably will…

Conservatives Target Rob Portman’s Gay Son For ‘Harmful Choices’ That Will ‘Kill Him From AIDS’

Two things that people need to see to realize what this fight has always been about are the humanity of gay people and the bottomless vitriolic hatred of our enemies. Behold that process in action: a son comes out to his father who sees the son he loves, not a homosexual monster. This father declares his love for his son has opened his eyes. Thank you Mr. Portman, but reality isn’t through with you just yet. Now that your eyes have opened, you get to see who the real monsters are.

Prepare yourself. You may think you have seen the bottom of the human gutter.  But it has no bottom.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

February 20th, 2013

But Lord, I Hate Them So Very Much…

It’s like the buildup of magma under a hotspot. Eventually the pressure building up forces it out. Same thing with bile…

Rick Warren Goes Nuts On Twitter, Attacks ‘Liberal Theology’ Out Of The Blue

You can only wear that mask of genial civility for so long before you just have to start spitting at the heretics in the church across the street.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

February 11th, 2013

If We Didn’t Love You We Wouldn’t Be Stabbing Your Heart To Ribbons

I began these Valentine’s Day reminiscences to shine a light on how love is systematically taken from this poor angry world, denied not just to gay people, but to everyone, lover, friend, family, they might have also loved.  I began it with a quote from a vicious screed published in Harper’s Magazine back in 1971, by one Joseph Epstein, who said homosexuals were “condemned to a state of permanent niggerdom among men”…

His howl against the homosexual in that Harper’s article almost certainly became a dagger in the the hopes and dreams of young gay men and women back then, reassuring parents, teachers, clergy that it was no sin to put a knife in the hearts of teenagers in love, that if they were condemned to live their one life in loneliness and heartache that was merely the Curse Of Homosexuality, not their own bar stool arrogance and cheapshit prejudices that did it to them.  Bobby and Johnny are getting just a little too friendly aren’t they…let’s pack them off to the psychiatrist quickly now…or to some nice church camp somewhere far away, where they can pray their unspeakable sin away…

Ah…Valentine’s Day…when all the lonely hearts ponder writing new songs about the one that did them wrong.  I have a different thing in mind.  How about stories of that which might have been, but for the cheapshit prejudices of the world we were thrown into.  I have a few stories of my own to tell.  Pull up a chair.  Sit a spell.  Love is in the air.  Let me pour you a drink.  There is a box of Valentine’s Day candy over there on the table, pieces of the moon rattling hollowly inside…angry, angry candy…

Let us pause in our (my) reminiscences to acknowledge that however better it has become for gay kids just discovering what all that love and desire stuff is all about, many of them still get the knife in the heart, with LOVE engraved on its blade…

Local Students And Staff Want Gays Banned From Prom

Several parents, students, and others who believe gays should be banned from the Sullivan High School prom met Sunday at the Sullivan First Christian Church.”We don’t agree with it and it’s offensive to us,” said Diana Medley.

So now they’re organizing their own Gay Kids Not Allowed prom…

“If we can get a good prom then we can convince more people to come and follow what they believe,” said student Kynon Johnson.

“We want to make the public see that we love the homosexuals, but we don’t think it’s right nor should it be accepted,” said a local student.

Feel the love, as Dan Savage says, because nothing says love like “you’re not wanted and God hates you.”  The people organizing this “traditional prom” had a Facebook page up about it, but took it promptly down when their efforts suddenly became an Internet news item.  Here’s what a couple of them had to say for themselves…

An issue has been raised in the Southwest School Corporation where a same sex couple or couples have requested acceptance of their marching together in the Grand March for the High School Prom. There have been a number of students, along with their parents, that have expressed their dislike over this venue for demonstrating this kind of behavior, which is offensive to many in Sullivan County.

Our first suggestion would be that the school administration ask the same sex couple or couples not use this venue (the Grand March) to demonstrate their sexuality because it is offensive to many and would be demonstrating before minors. So our wish is that the school officials and board return to the traditional couple stance in the same way Indiana only accepts traditional (man and wife) marriages.

We encourage you to show support for the teens in our community that are standing up for what they believe is right. Their position is based on the Bible’s stance against homosexuality and its acceptance in society and in our schools. It is very difficult for many of our high schoolers to stand up against peer pressure, our permissive culture and main stream media and yet many teens are standing up concerning this blatant demonstration that is not in accordance with God’s Word.

Please keep in mind that we love those who participate in homosexuality but that does not mean that we love homosexuality. Just as it has become their civil right (according to our society today) to attend the Grand March as a homosexual couple, it is our teens right to speak out against such a public demonstration. Many believe, as our teens do, this is not the venue to demonstrate a homosexual lifestyle.

A meeting for those in support of these efforts will be on Sunday, February 10, 2013 at the Sullivan First Christian Church at 1:30pm. This event and these efforts are not being organized by the Sullivan First Christian Church but the building is the gathering location for the meeting. Students and parents who support this effort are encouraged to attend. May God bless you as you pray over these efforts.

And this…from another member…

We would like to stress to everyone that this is not a hate group. We do not hate anyone, we are not judging anyone. We are choosing to stand on the word of God. The bible says the truth will set you free. All we can do is stand for what we believe and let God do the rest. We will not judge or hate anyone for their choice. We simply choose the entire word of God. The unchanging living word of God. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

[emphasis mine]  Those who participate in homosexuality.  Those who participate in homosexuality.  Those who participate in homosexuality.  Do these people ever listen to themselves yapping?  Oh…and there’s Homosexual Lifestyle, right on cue.  And the ostentatious avowals of love for those who participate in homosexuality.  We are not a hate group, we only want those who participate in homosexuality to know they are not welcome at the prom.  Because homosexuals don’t love, they participate in homosexuality.

Feel the love, because the gay kids who go to that school sure are.

Worse though than a bunch of bigot parents, are the bigot teachers.  And especially bad if their job is caring for the kids who are among the most vulnerable among them…

Teacher Says Gays Have No Purpose In Life, Wants LGBT Kids Banned From Prom

A teacher of special needs children in Indiana is speaking out with other Christian parents and students by demanding LGBT kids be banned from a Sullivan High School prom.

Here’s a direct quote from that interview, courtesy of Dan Savage…

PAIGE PREUSSE: A gay person, um, do you consider them, maybe, do [you believe] they have some sort of purpose in life?

DIANA MEDLEY: I don’t. I personally don’t. I’m sorry.

Imagine you are a gay kid and you are hearing your teacher, or someone else’s teacher, say that your life has no purpose.

I notice this morning that the headline on that Wabash Valley Channel 2 page has changed from “Local Students And Staff Want Gays Banned From Prom” to “Local Students Want ‘Traditional Prom’, Gays Banned”, and I strongly suspect that’s at the request of the school that doesn’t want any of its knuckle dragging staff caught in the backwash of all this, let alone the school facing a lawsuit when a gay student takes Ms. Medley’s opinion their life has no purpose to heart and kills themselves.  And of course you just know that at the end of all this, the homophobes will be bellyaching that they were the bullied ones.  Certainly not the gay kids who wanted to bring their dates to the prom, just like any other kid does, and were told they weren’t wanted, that God hates them, and that their lives have no purpose, condemned as Joseph Epstein would have said, to a state of permanent niggerdom among men.

Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day.  We love you.  Can’t you tell by the knife we’ve stuck in your heart?

[Edited a tad...  Edited some more to correct a name...]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

December 11th, 2012

B20 (and E15…continued)

Triple-A is warning drivers in Oklahoma to beware of E15…

New E15 gasoline may damage vehicles

Only about 12 million out of the more than 240 million light-duty vehicles on the roads today – less than five percent – are approved by manufacturers to use E15 gasoline, based on a survey conducted by AAA of auto manufacturers.

Yet the biofuel industry continues pushing this mixture (and B20) onto automobile and truck owners as if there is absolutely no problem with it at all.

The “Renewable Fuels Association” points to the EPA’s approval of E15 for use in vehicles made after 2001 and says the AAA’s “anti-ethanol stance is well known and tired” and that the organization’s call for further testing “reflects a pathetic ignorance of EPA’s unprecedented test program before approving E15 for commercial use.”

Notice meanwhile they say nothing about the fact that…

Five manufacturers (BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen) are on record saying their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims caused by the use of E15. Seven additional automakers (Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo) have stated that the use of E15 does not comply with the fuel requirements specified in their owner’s manuals and may void warranty coverage.

Here’s what both striking and appalling to this baby boomer, who bought his first car in 1973 and witnessed the first gasoline shortages and then the ever increasing emissions control requirements placed onto motor vehicles: When unleaded fuel was rolled out in the 1970s to deal with a form of air pollution, fuel nozzles were changed to prevent leaded from going into the tanks of cars made specifically for unleaded, because leaded fuel could damage the engines and emissions control systems of those cars. I remember this well. Why is that strategy not being advocated now? Simple. Biofuel makers and big Agra don’t give a damn about damages their products cause so long as they don’t have to pay for it. They have precisely zero economic interest in preventing that damage, and plenty of economic incentive to make everyone buy their product whether we want to or not and then pay for the damage it does to our cars out of our own pockets.

So what needs to happen in a saner world is the feds step in and at minimum mandate that pumps serving high concentration biofuels have nozzles on them preventing that fuel from going into automobiles that aren’t engineered to burn it, and that cars that are have fuel inlets that accept those nozzles, just as it was when unleaded gasoline was rolled out.

Yes, yes…I can hear the complaints about Big Brother Government or The Nanny State or both, and just beneath it as always, the angry babbling about the oh-so heavy burden of added government regulation from biofuel makers, gas station owners, and big agra…all of whom have an interest in selling you something and then immediately wash wash washing their hands of whatever it did to your car. The cost to consumers from engine and emissions system damage do not come out of their pockets so they just don’t fucking care. But it’s worse then just casual indifference, they’re telling people that it’s okay to ignore their own car maker’s warnings and the AAA’s warnings because the EPA said it was all good.

…the Renewable Fuels Association says AAA’s anti-ethanol stance is “well-known and tired.” He says the organization’s call for further testing of E15 “reflects a pathetic ignorance of EPA’s unprecedented test program before approving E15 for commercial use.” As for consumer education, Dineen says “the RFA is working with the petroleum industry, gas retailers, automakers and consumers to ensure E15 is used properly.”

Oh really?

…An overwhelming 95 percent of consumers surveyed have not heard of E15…

I got a letter back from Mercedes-Benz USA in reply to the letter I sent them a couple weeks ago about B20, which I’ll post later, but which says in part their warnings have been going unheeded and they are just as frustrated as I am.  So as far as I’m concerned the biofuels industry should be on the hook for any and all damages to automobiles too, then maybe they’d support at least making the pump nozzles different.

As it is now, those tanks of E15 (or B20) that ruined your engine was money in their pockets so it’s all good to them. Responsibility for what their product does to the people they sell it to costs money so they’re completely against that.  But that’s how business is conducted now, since Reagan freed them from the chains of government regulation.  The chains are on us now, and it’s big business holding the other ends.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

November 15th, 2012

You Furnish The Pictures And I’ll Furnish The War

Via Romenesko…

Hudson Register-Star reporter fired after refusing to allow byline on story

The Hudson (NY) Register-Star fired reporter Tom Casey after he refused to allow his byline on a budget meeting story that had two paragraphs inserted by an editor, who apparently wanted to create controversy for an editorial. Here are the inserted grafs:

At the start of the meeting some in the audience were upset over Third Ward Alderman John Friedman’s decision not to stand for the pledge of allegiance. While Hudson City Code does not require council members to stand for the pledge, Fifth Ward Alderman Robert Donahue, who had complained about the matter at a previous meeting and asked Friedman why he did not stand, was visibly upset.

No comment could be reached from either party concerning the matter, and it did not interfere with the meeting.

Sam Pratt reports “Casey had been under pressure by higher-ups at the paper to make an issue of Friedman’s choice, which the Alderman had exercised at some but not all previous meetings. Getting the matter into the body of a news story would give the paper’s management a predicate for writing an editorial about it. The day after the dispute, Casey was reportedly fired by editor Theresa Hyland at the insistence of publisher Roger Coleman.”

So…dig it…Casey’s editor inserted two paragraphs into his story just so the paper could write an editorial, presumably attacking Friedman’s patriotism. The reporter then refused to allow his byline on the story and so the publisher had him fired.  Because not standing up for the pledge of allegiance is a greater crime against America then not standing up for honest journalism and freedom of the press.

Hey Roger…you’d be running a much more efficient operation if you just got rid of all that pesky news gathering fluff you really don’t care about anyway and make your paper just one big opinion section. All your opinions of course…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

October 3rd, 2012

Homophobe Science

Maggie Gallagher claims that it is rare for same-sex relationships to last.  Her proof is the Regnerus study, which did not examine same sex relationships.  If I cover my eyes so I can’t see you, then you aren’t there.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

September 24th, 2012

The Libertarian Facade: What John Birchers Wear When They Want To Look Cool

Winger Eugene Volokh of the ersatz libertarian leaning Volokh Conspiracy gleefully passes on notice this morning that a lawsuit against Avis for discriminating against a straight customer can proceed.  The gist of it is that because Avis gave a discount to the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce they were discriminating against heterosexuals by charging them more in violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.  If you thought that libertarians were opposed to such laws to begin with you’d be right.  If you thought that most people who oppose such laws are libertarians you would be sadly mistaken.  And especially when they claim to be libertarians.

Pay attention:

Another thread of argument runs through AVIS’s briefs: … since Plaintiff could have become a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association or the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and thus qualified for its favored discounts …, there was no pricing discrimination…. [But this] assumes an evidentiary showing which has yet to be made…. [A]lthough AVIS repeats it often as fact, there is no evidence that membership in either International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association or the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce was open to Plaintiff when she rented her car….

Okay…but where was the evidence that membership in either organization was not open to this Plaintiff?  There isn’t any.  And even if it was, that still doesn’t make a case that Avis itself is discriminating against heterosexuals.  Perhaps they give a membership discounts to the International Heterosexuals Butthurt Because Gay Bars Can’t Be Raided And Their Customers Thrown In Jail Anymore Association as well.  Surely Plaintiff could have found solidarity there.

But never mind that.  Didn’t I hear somewhere that libertarians don’t like anti-discrimination laws to begin with?   Hahahahahaha….

Volokh commenter 1: “Is it me, or is this a case where the discrimination laws are shown to be working across the board, that is against gay discrimination against straights as well, and yet the two most ‘voted up’ posts here are of the ‘gays get special rights under this law’ variety. What in the world?”

Volokh commenter 2: “It’s not you. It’s principled libertarians exercising outrage and protesting about a private company’s business decisions, as they always tell us disadvantaged minorities (like straight white people) should do.”

Except of course, this is not a case about discrimination and that first commenter needs to look, really look, at why it’s getting applause from the gays get special rights pew.  Special rights are when that smaller kid you enjoyed beating up gets a protector and now you’re having to answer for your abusive behavior and being a bully isn’t fun anymore.

A libertarian would tell the person filing this lawsuit to go to hell, Avis can do as it damn well pleases.  Eugene Volokh and his peanut gallery enjoy the spectacle of laws intended to protect a despised minority being used against them.  How dare they think they were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

September 19th, 2012

It Isn’t The Mirror’s Job To Flatter You

La Noonan today while eviscerating Romney, flings this one out

“I wrote recently of an imagined rural Ohio woman sitting on her porch, watching the campaign go by. She’s 60, she identifies as conservative, she likes guns, she thinks the culture has gone crazy. She doesn’t like Obama. Romney looks OK. She’s worried about the national debt and what it will mean to her children. But she’s having a hard time, things are tight for her right now, she’s on partial disability, and her husband is a vet and he gets help, and her mother receives Social Security.

“She’s worked hard and paid into the system for years. Her husband fought for his country.

“And she’s watching this whole election and thinking. You can win her vote if you give her faith in your fairness and wisdom…”

Right there’s your problem Peggy. Your party has been faking that fairness and wisdom thing for decades now…ever since Reagan showed them how to do the fakery right. He was an actor after all. But it was never sincere and back in those days the party did its fakery with its eyes wide open. So Reagan could assume that wise and kindly American dad persona at the same time he began his campaign where three civil rights workers were murdered with a speech about states rights. He knew what he was doing.  He knew you can’t win by telling Americans you want to dick them over.  It seems you’ve forgotten that.

But somewhere between then and now you folks started eating your own dogfood and now it’s Romney who carries the flag.  Face it Peggy, he didn’t steal it, your party gave it to him.  Romney Is The Modern Republican Party.  Its sickeningly plastic smile plastered over its transparent plutocratic callousness toward everyone who isn’t wealthy, sprinkled with the usual bigotry toward darkies, women, faggots and patronizing contempt for all the rest that grow their food, serve their meals, build their homes, mow their lawns, nanny their children and die on foreign battlefields.

For decades you’ve reached that elderly woman on the porch and her husband by way of their fears and prejudices. But their lives have been growing more and more pinched as the plutocrats have been sucking up more and more of the nation’s wealth.  And now your party is up against a democrat who talks about citizenship and community, the old American values your kind regards as a dirty joke.  He speaks to our hopes and dreams and aspirations as a Nation, not as a collection of gated communities.  And that elderly woman is old enough to remember a time when that America was peaceful and prosperous.

It gets harder and harder to wrap policies that are dicking her and her husband over in that fake folksy Reagan fairness and wisdom, but it’s either that or resign yourself to living in a country where even the commoner’s children can grow up healthy, go to school, get a decent education and make a good life for themselves.  You needed an ever better Reagan this year and you don’t have one, and that’s because you forgot the only way you win with that woman is to tell her the darkies are coming for their daughters, the homos are coming for their sons, and bullshit her about kinder gentler conservatism and that shining city on the hill they can behold as their standard of living sinks slowly into the sunset. You really needed to groom another good actor for the role.   But you ate your own dogfood, you bought into your own spiel about rising tides lifting all boats and Romney, corporate raiding tax evading, everpandering, plastic smiling Mitt Romney is what you got.

Now give him a big hug and a kiss because he’s everything you ever believed in made real.  Sickeningly, appallingly, unavoidably real.

Cheer up Peggy. It could have been Rick Santorum.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

August 20th, 2012

The Rhetoric Does Not Serve The Purpose You Think It Does

Andrew Sullivan

It should be possible to be a total fiscal tightwad and still adopt a live-and-let-live philosophy in government – and yet that is emphatically not the GOP we have today…

He’s talking about rape apologist Republican (surprise, surprise) Todd Akin from Missouri.  People keep reading his statement about “legitimate” rape as, if a woman is really raped she’s not likely to get pregnant, and therefore rape victims don’t really need access to abortion.  But that’s not what he meant.  What he meant was, if a woman gets pregnant she wasn’t really raped.  She was having sex because she wanted it and that makes it her fault she got pregnant and now she’ just wants an abortion to escape the consequences of her slutty behavior.

That’s the mindset in the neanderthal/Taliban wing of the republican party…and let’s be real here…does it even make sense to keep referring to the kook pews as a wing of the party.  They’re in control now.

They’re not fiscal tightwads either…

The last republican to actually practice what he preached when it came to balanced budgets was Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Bill Clinton ended his term with a budget surplus and the republicans screamed that such things were dangerous because government would surely find ways to spend it.  You didn’t hear them talking much about paying down the deficit with it either.  No.  Please.  They don’t give a rat’s ass about the budget.  What they care about is the size of government.  More to the point, the ability of government to interfere in their splendid little culture war.

A government big enough to keep corporate power in check is a government that is too big.  A government that is big enough to maintain a rule of law against the the power of big money to flout the law whenever it damn well feels like it is a government that is too big.  A government that is big enough to protect the environment from being raped for the next quarterly profit report and to hell with the one after that is a government that is too big.  A government big enough to guarantee the rights of women and minorities is a government that is too big.  A government that is big enough to guarantee the right of all Americans to equal justice under law, to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, is a government that is too big.

This is why the kook pews appear as though they are budget tightwads from time to time.  The idea isn’t that government should live within its means, it’s that government should live within the palm of their hand, the better to wield it against the poor, the outcast, and all those slutty women who claim they were raped when all along they really wanted it.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

August 16th, 2012

Pointing His Finger At The Mirror Held Up To Him

Steve Benen writing at the Rachel Maddow blog today:

[Perkins] said the Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups gave “license” to a shooter who injured a security guard at the conservative religious policy and lobbying organization’s headquarters on Wednesday.

In a news conference addressing the incident and the arrest of the alleged shooter, Floyd Corkins II, Perkins said: “Let me be clear that Floyd Corkins was responsible for firing the shots yesterday that wounded one of our colleagues … but Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations ‘hate groups’ because they disagree with them on public policy.”

Perkins noted that plenty of LGBT organizations issued statements condemning Corkins’ violence, and he “appreciates” the sentiments, adding that he hopes they will “join us in calling for an end to the reckless rhetoric that I believe led to yesterday’s incident.”

This from a group of hate mongers, led by a hate monger, that routinely denies their vitriolic rhetoric has ever caused anyone to attack or kill gay people, or contributed to the climate of hate that gets gay people killed.

I have a wee suggestion Tony.  If you want to be taken of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate group list, you might consider stopping the behavior that got you listed in the first place.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

August 12th, 2012

Shame Is For Socialists

“The reason I got into public service, by and large, if I had to credit on thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.” -Paul Ryan

“Our rights come from nature and God, not government.” – Paul Ryan.

Let others bust on Romney’s VB choice for his let the rich eat the middle class and have the poor for dessert politics. I want to point out something that’s irritated me about him and all the Who Is John Galt tea-ed off jackasses that want government out of their Medicare.  Seriously…Rand would chew all of you to shreds and spit you out in disgust.

I will admit to being a Randoid back in my twenties. In my defense it was something Ronald Reagan cured me of, which means I can look back on it with some relief and a little pride that, whatever ideology I would have become hooked on at that age I was never the sort to let a belief stop me from seeing what is right in front of my eyes. But before Reagan managed to convincingly show me how people who equate money with morality actually behave in real life, and what a government comprised of such people really looked like, I delved into Rand’s books and her writings hungrily.  Some say Randism is a kind of petulant ego trip, but for me it was my inner teenage geek thinking she had the simple elegant answer to all the problems of society and government.  Simple is better…right?  H.L. Mencken once said that for every complex problem there is an answer that is simple, neat and wrong.

I still have all those books of her’s I bought way back when, and even some of the newsletters. Give me a sentence or two of dialogue from Atlas Shrugged and well worn hardbound copy in hand I’ll put my fingers on the pages it came from in under a minute. I’m not exactly proud of this…but it’s come in handy from time to time whenever I get into an argument with someone who is still eating at Hugh Akston’s rancid diner.

So let me take this opportunity to say, as someone who has been there and can claim some experience with the territory, its culture, and its charming little village church…Ryan is shitting you. Twice. He’s shitting you when he says he admires Ayn Rand, and shitting you when he says he believes rights come from God, both. The magnitude of the mendacity here is you can’t even believe he’s at least being honest about one of those statements. To say both of these things is to basically say you believe neither one.

Anyone who so much as skims the John Galt speech knows what Rand thought of Christianity and God worship. Her take is so absolutely venomous it is just not possible to reconcile any form of Christianity, even the ersatz republican christianity of war, wealth, power and contempt for the poor and outcast, with Rand. Rand and Christianity do not fit together in any possible way.  Not even in The Twilight Zone do they fit together. Here…just take a wee taste…

What is the nature of the guilt that your teachers call Original Sin? What are the evils man acquired when he fell from a state they consider perfection? Their myth declares that he ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge – he acquired a mind and became a rational being. It was the knowledge of good and evil – he became a moral being. He was sentenced to earn his bread by his labor – he became a productive being. He was sentenced to experience desire – he acquired the capacity of sexual enjoyment. The evils for which they damn him are reason, morality, creativeness, joy – all the cardinal values of his existence. It is not his vices that their myth of man’s fall is designed to explain and condemn, it is not his errors that they hold as his guilt, but the essence of his nature as man. Whatever he was – that robot in the Garden of Eden, who existed without mind, without values, without labor, without love – he was not man.

Man’s fall, according to your teachers, was that he gained the virtues required to live. These virtues, by their standard, are his Sin. His evil, they charge, is that he’s man. His guilt, they charge, is that he lives.

And so on… But take note: Ryan’s mendacity is eminently typical of modern republicans. They pick ideas from Rand and from her hated bastard offspring, libertarianism, the way they pick from the bible, like they’re populating the window display of an antique shop with any pretty junk that might get the passers-by to stop and look. Their admiration of Rand is intellectual the way a bank robber admires a well made shotgun and getaway car is intellectual, and to the same exact kind and degree that their religiosity is deeply spiritual.  It isn’t just about waging culture war.  When you’re busy plundering one of history’s great democracies, it’s good to be able to look in a mirror and convince yourself it isn’t a thief looking back.  The bible merely gives them a few handy clobber verses.  They have to skim over all the parts about loving your neighbor and getting camels through the eyes of needles.  Rand told them outright that theirs is the power and the glory and that even a little mustard seed of compassion toward your neighbors is anti-life.  She set them free, free at last from the loathsome work of forming a more perfect union, establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessings of liberty to anyone but themselves.

Paul Constant over at SLOG reminds us

Paul Ryan has a highly consistent legislative record. He has voted against regulations of all kinds—environmental protections, work safety laws, controls on the banking, credit card, and health care industries—and against spending on things like food stamps, arts funding, Medicare, and infrastructure. He wants to decimate Pell Grants and he votes against education funding almost every time. He’s strongly anti-abortion. He votes against protecting minorities and women—against The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, for example—but he votes for religion, arguing against the separation of church and state whenever possible. He claims to be for small government, but he votes for military spending a whole lot. He was against drawing down in Afghanistan, and he’s for government wiretapping and the PATRIOT Act. The only real divergence from that record comes from his votes to bail out GM and his support for TARP, when the entire country was teetering on the edge of a Bush-inspired collapse.

Something that worries me, though, is Ryan has a disconcerting habit of completely denying the reality of his record, in a very convincing way. If a senior citizen asks Ryan about privatizing Medicare, he will toss a word salad that leaves the senior disoriented and convinced that he’s actually for a stronger Medicare. He will force his interns to read Ayn Rand novels, tell everyone we’re “living in an Ayn Rand novel,” and even credit his entire life of public service to Ayn Rand, and then he will tell a crowded room with a straight face that his love for Ayn Rand is an “urban legend.” Both of these contradictory truths are on the record.

I think Rand would have understood at some level, even as she would have despised his bows to right wing fundamentalists.  She yapped a lot about the rights of the individual but for her it was all about the will to power. Her beef with religion, Christianity specifically, was almost certainly in all that stuff about being a neighbor and doing unto others.  I think she saw religion as a cousin to communism, and so even a religion that exalted the rich and powerful would have drawn her contempt, because to some degree all religion involves fellowship of some kind and Rand acknowledged no interhuman connections of any sort beyond transactions that are engaged in purely for self benefit.  She despised the idea that love could be unconditional and selfless.

It’s a view of human society citizens of the nation of Wall Street can see the rapture in.  A morality in which all that matters is acquiring and holding onto power makes the concept of neighbor pointless. Everyone is responsible only to themselves and harm is something you do only to yourself. There is no neighbor.  And without neighbor there is no shame. The people you meet are nothing more than potential sources of profit or loss. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are not contradicting themselves and they don’t view what they are doing as lying per se, let alone immoral.  Business after all, is business. They are selling you a product under the rules of a marketplace where the only thing that matters is did they get your money.  And that is exactly how they will govern.  Because theirs is the power and the glory, and Atlas don’t feel shame.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

August 8th, 2012

The Thing About Running Up To The Edge And Barking Is Sometimes The Edge Collapses Underneath You

Bryan Fischer does a pivot from supporting a christian (in his opinion) parent who defies a judgment giving her lesbian co-parent custody, to supporting the wholesale kidnapping of children from gay parents…

This tweet followed one about Mennonite minister Kenneth Miller, charged with aiding and abetting the kidnapping of the child Isabella Miller-Jenkins in a custody battle between a lesbian and her now ex-gay partner who fled to Nicaragua with the girl rather then obey a court order giving custody of the girl to her former partner.  But the link below the tweet, to a story posted on the blog of The Witherspoon Institute…one of Mark Regnerus’ big money teats, by a man who blames his difficulties growing up on the fact that he was raised by a lesbian couple. (Naturally he ends his story with a big round of applause for Regnerus’ work and you can be sure that has no bearing at all on why the people who dropped a giant wad of cash on Regnerus saw fit to publish his story…)  So Fischer here isn’t tweeting that an underground railroad is needed to support good christian parents when they decide to flee their homosexual past and take the kids with them.  He’s saying that any kid being raised by homosexuals is in danger, and needs a few good christian child snatchers to get them out of it.

This is where the culture war can take a turn for the very worst, and if you think these people are not capable of wholesale child snatching you need to refresh your memory as to what they’ve been capable of in the fight over abortion.


[Update...] As expected, Fischer is slyly sticking to his guns on the Miller case as though that was what he meant all along….

No kidnapping involved in Lisa Miller case. She left the US to keep her natural, biological daughter FROM BEING KIDNAPPPED. In Lisa Miller case, I’m advocating AGAINST JUDICIAL KIDNAPPING, in favor of keeping daughter with her own mother. In Lisa Miller case, lesbian who wanted sole custody of the daughter had NO legal or biological relationship to the girl. If any kidnapping involved in Lisa Miller case, it’s judges stealing a child from her mother and giving her to a stranger.

This is a standard technique of the kook pews, when cornered to pick a distraction and try to drag the conversation down and away from whatever was getting them mainstream static. But Fischer’s tweet about “Why we need an Underground Railroad to deliver innocent children from same-sex households” didn’t link to a story about the Miller case, but to the story of a man raised in a same-sex household which he blames for his life problems, published by The Witherspoon Institute which funded the Regnerus “study”. Never mind for a moment that even in the Miller case Fischer is claiming a right to ignore the rule of law wherever it gets in the way of his holy war on Teh Gay, there was no custody battle issue in the story he linked to, no issue of gay verses christian parent. Fischer was saying that Every household headed by same-sex parents is a danger to the children in them.

At minimum, it was a dog whistle endorsement of snatching these kids from their homes and Fischer isn’t walking back any of that, he’s merely waving the Miller case around as if that was all he was talking about. It wasn’t. Be assured that the right ears will have heard Fischer’s dog whistle, and nodded their heads approvingly.

And…If you thought the work of Mark Regnerus would only be used by the culture warriors to deny gay people the right to marry, you have been painfully naive.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off

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